Chris Finch lamented the Minnesota Timberwolves’ lack of composure in their Western Conference finals Game 1 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Timberwolves lost 108-105 on the road on Wednesday, failing to hold onto their lead in the final four minutes.

Minnesota sank just 11 of 18 from the free-throw line and committed five turnovers in the final frame, allowing Dallas to complete a late turnaround. 

Asked what the biggest problem was for his side in a tight contest, Finch said: "No composure.

"We haven't really closed quarters very well, closed halves very well over the last handful of games.

"It cost us a game in the Denver series. It certainly had an impact on this game tonight, too. We've got to be better in clutch moments."

Mike Conley echoed his coach’s thoughts and believes the Timberwolves can use this as a learning curve.

"I think we haven't been tested like this where we've had to trade basket to basket, late-game free throw situations or fouling situations, stuff that we have to be better at," Conley said.

"But we'll learn from it. I think each game we've learned a lot about ourselves, a lot we can get better at. Obviously, it's going to be a long series, regardless of what happened tonight."

Meanwhile, Luka Doncic starred for Dallas once again, scoring 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to help them over the line to a Game 1 victory.

The Slovenian admits that the Mavericks wanted to make a statement by winning at home.

"We had to work really hard to get this one," said Doncic.

"I think we're known for losing game ones, so we were trying to make a point. But it's only one and we have three more [wins] to go."

Anthony Edwards poured in a playoff career-high 43 points and Naz Reid scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Denver Nuggets 106-99 on the road in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday.

Edwards had 25 points in the first half and Reid took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 straight points at one point during a pivotal late run.

His 3-pointer with 4:19 remaining capped the surge for a 94-88 lead and the Timberwolves held on down the stretch, with Edwards scoring eight points in the final three minutes.

Game 2 is Monday night in Denver.

Nikola Jokić had 32 points, nine assists and eight rebounds but also had seven turnovers for Denver and Jamal Murray added 17 points after he was held scoreless in the first half.

Karl-Anthony Towns battled foul trouble to score 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and Mike Conley added 14 points and 10 assists for the Wolves, who improved to 5-0 in these playoffs. 

Three days after knee surgery, Minnesota coach Chris Finch was on the bench in the second row, next to the scorer’s table and behind assistant Micha Nori, who did the instructing, roaming and switching.

Anthony Edwards praised coach Chris Finch's man-management skills after dropping 51 points to help the Minnesota Timberwolves to a stirring comeback win against the Washington Wizards.

The Wizards made a blistering start to Tuesday's game at Target Center and found themselves 21 points up in the first quarter. 

That advantage was cut to 44-27 by the end of the quarter, yet it still represented Washington's franchise record for most points in a single quarter. 

However, a dominant second-half showing saw Minnesota turn the game around, with Edwards' 3 pointer giving them their first lead with just over two minutes of the third quarter remaining.

His final tally surpassed his previous best, a 49-point performance against the San Antonio Spurs in April 2022, also putting him joint-fifth among all displays from Timberwolves players.

The victory kept Minnesota above the Denver Nuggets at the top of the Western Conference, and they hold the tiebreaker ahead of the teams' huge clash at Ball Arena on Wednesday.

Speaking after the game, Edwards revealed the details of a meeting he held with Finch earlier in the week, saying: "He put me in the office two or three days ago and said, 'look, we've got this Washington game, and we need to win it'.

"'We need to come ready to play, you can't treat it like any other game'. I don't even need to talk about how big it is. Everybody knows."

The Timberwolves improved to 12-5 without All-Star forward Karl-Anthony Towns, who is nearing a return after around a month on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Finch credited his players for producing another real team performance in his absence, saying: "We needed all of them, for sure.

"The best thing about it for me was they came in the flow. Anthony kept making the right play down the stretch for the most part. He was really finding people. 

"Guys were knocking down shots, too. He was aggressive getting to the hoop. I thought he turned the game around, along with Nickeil [Alexander-Walker], in getting to the basket."

Minnesota have already clinched a top-three seed and a victory in Denver on Wednesday would leave them needing just one further win to secure top spot in the West. 

Rudy Gobert has acknowledged the gesture which landed him a costly technical in the Minnesota Timberwolves' defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday was "immature", though he refused to back down on his claim sports betting is influencing NBA officials.

The Timberwolves led the short-handed Cavs with just 27.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse when Gobert was pulled up for his sixth and disqualifying foul. 

The three-time All-Star responded by rubbing his fingers together in an apparent money gesture towards referee Scott Foster. 

Fellow official Natalie Sago spotted the gesture and hit Gobert with a technical, sending Cleveland's Darius Garland to the free-throw line to tie the game up at 97 apiece.

Garland finished with 34 points and Jarrett Allen added a career-high 33 including 10 in overtime, as the Cavs took full advantage of Gobert's loss of discipline to claim a 113-104 win.

Gobert is now facing the prospect of further punishment from the NBA, having told reporters that gambling is influencing the way games are being officiated.  

"I'll bite the bullet again," Gobert said. "I'll be the bad guy. I'll take the fine, but I think it's hurting our game. 

"I know the betting and all that is becoming bigger and bigger, but it shouldn't feel that way.

"It's not just one call. Everyone makes mistakes, but when it's over and over and over again, of course it's frustrating."

The Frenchman did concede that he was wrong to make the gesture at such a pivotal moment, adding: "My reaction, I think it was the truth, but it wasn't the time to react that way. 

"It cost my team the game. It was an immature reaction."

Minnesota coach Chris Finch missed the game after feeling unwell prior to tipoff, with assistant Micah Nori taking his place on the bench.

Nori was furious with Gobert for the timing of his technical, saying: "A technical foul with 27 seconds in the game, to be honest, is unacceptable. 

"That's who Rudy is, but you've got to be smart. He made a visual that was automatic. He was obviously frustrated, both teams were, but we have to be smarter."

The Timberwolves, who sit second in the Western Conference at 44-20, now head to Los Angeles to face the Lakers and the Clippers, while the Cavs host the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

The Milwaukee Bucks got big performances from their two brightest stars in a 131-124 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday to clinch a quarterfinal spot in the In-Season Tournament.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and Damian Lillard added 32 to help the Bucks win East Group B with a 4-0 record.

Milwaukee will host wild-card New York on either Dec. 4 or 5, with East Group C winner Boston going to Group A winner Indiana for the other quarterfinal before the Final Four in Las Vegas.

Miami, which was without second-leading scorer Jimmy Butler, dropped its second straight following a 9-1 stretch.

Bam Adebayo scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry had 21, including a 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining to put the Heat up 118-115.

The Bucks, though, finished on a 16-6 run, going 5 for 6 from the field and 5 for 5 from the line. Lillard made two free throws with 63 seconds to play to help put it out of reach.

Milwaukee lost forward Pat Connaughton to a sprained right ankle in the second quarter.

Kings rally past Warriors to advance

Malik Monk sank a fadeaway with 7 seconds remaining and the Sacramento Kings rallied from 11 down in the fourth quarter for a 124-123 win over the Golden State Warriors.

De’Aaron Fox scored 29 points and Monk and Kevin Huerter each added 21 for the Kings, who won their group with a 4-0 record and will host New Orleans next week in the quarterfinals.

Sacramento needed a win or a loss by 11 points or fewer to advance but erased a 21-point deficit to win for the seventh time in nine games.

Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 29 points apiece, but Golden State dropped to 2-8 in its last 10 games.

Timberwolves star Edwards injured in win

Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks as the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame an injury to star guard Anthony Edwards in a 106-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the In-Season Tournament.

Edwards had 12 of his 21 points in the third quarter before landing hard on his right side during a dunk attempt and leaving with a bruised right hip.

Coach Chris Finch had no more details on the injury or whether Edwards would miss time.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting but his 37-foot try at the buzzer, his only 3-point attempt of the night, was well off the mark.

Reserve Troy Brown Jr. scored 17 points and Naz Reid added 15 for Minnesota, which improved the West’s best record to 12-4.

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